In a move that has surprised and enthralled many Maldivians, President Abdulla Yameen has arrested his deputy Ahmed Adeeb on a charge of high treason. Adeeb was arrested at 12pm, moments after his flight from Singapore landed at the international airport.
A police spokesman has confirmed Adeeb was arrested over an explosion on Yameen’s speedboat on September 28. The government says the blast was an assassination attempt.
Live blog ended at 7:30pm
7:19pm: President Yameen will address the nation tomorrow morning, spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali has said.
“President will address the nation tomorrow morning regarding the current situation of the country” -im
— Ibrahim Muaz Ali (@SpokespersonMV) October 24, 2015
7:10pm: Police officers in plainclothes emerged from Zurriyaanumaage around 6:30pm carrying several brown bags. Two soldiers with guns were also seen entering the house around 4:00pm. Police officers and armed soldiers from the military’s special forces have meanwhile been inside Maafanu Cessna for more than five hours now. The vice president is believed to have kept an office in the residence.
The police have only confirmed raids on the two houses, but according to local media police officers also raided Galolhu Humashi, the home of Adeeb’s second wife, and carried out evidence bags around 6:00pm.
The Maldives Independent’s journalists have seen police officers outside the Humashi house. Police officers also reportedly searched Galolhu Oevaali, the home of a close associate of the vice president, and arrested an individual. The police had set up barricades before raiding the four houses today.
4:14pm: Home Minister Umar Naseer has also denied that police are searching the home of PPM MP Asma Rasheed and her son, Mohamed Hussain Shareef, former presidential affairs minister.
Police is NOT searching M.Kothanmaage owned by Hon. MP Asma and former Minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef. — Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) October 24, 2015
4:10pm: Despite media reports of specialist operations police officers and soldiers entering Galolhu Oevaali, a police media official has told The Maldives Independent that the police are only searching Maafanu Cessna and Manchangoalhi Zurriyaanumaage.
The media official also dismissed rumours swirling on social media about soldiers taking over the police barracks at Iskandhar Koshi.
The military is assisting the police in the ongoing special operation to maintain peace and order in Malé, the official said.
4:00pm: The police have confirmed that a third residence in Malé, Manchangoalhi Zurriyaanumaage, is also being searched.
3:32pm: Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee has declared the cabinet’s solidarity with President Yameen.
I strongly stand with HEP, so does the whole cabinet. Together v’ll come out of this stronger n better n deliver the pledges of HEP Yameen. — Mohamed Shainee (@mshainee) October 24, 2015
3:30pm: Some 17 people, including two minors, have been arrested today on charges of disrupting public order, the police have said.
3:22pm: The police are also raiding the home of a close associate of the vice president. Police officers are reportedly searching Galolhu Oevaali, the home of Mohamed Hussain ‘Oittey.’ The police have said that a joint special operation by the police and military is underway to maintain public order in the capital in the wake of the vice president’s arrest this morning. Soldiers are also inside the Iskandhar Koshi police barracks in Malé. Police officers and soldiers from the military’s special forces have meanwhile been inside Maafannu Cessna for more than an hour.
3:15pm: The president’s office has released a brief statement confirming the vice president’s arrest “with regard to an ongoing investigation.” “The vice president was brought under police custody on arrival at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on Saturday,” the president’s office said.
2:48pm: The PPM has also released a statement expressing support for President Yameen and assuring cooperation and assistance from the party’s president, council, parliamentary group, and other organs. The statement also urged the party’s members to “remain steadfast” with the president and the government. Vice President Adeeb is also a deputy leader of the PPM.
2:35pm: Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), has canceled a planned trip to India today.
To show PPM’s unwavering support to President Yameen at this critical time I have postponed my visit to Bangalore scheduled for today. — Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) October 24, 2015
In a tweet last week, Gayoom thanked his half-brother Yameen for briefing him on the situation.
Thank you President for briefing me. PPM will remain steadfast in support, confident you will solve the crisis, lead us to further stability — Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) October 21, 2015
2:15pm: Armed soldiers and police officers have entered Adeeb’s offices at Maafannu Cessna. MNDF’s Captain Ali Ihsan, a member of the boat blast inquiry commission, is leading the raid.
2:05pm: An eyewitness who saw Adeeb’s arrest recounts: Police’s Chief Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed was at the airport’s VIP lounge with a total of 12 police officers, including eight specialist operations officers.
Five minutes before Adeeb’s flight landed, Rasheed gathered all police officers, and asked them to handover their phones. Adeeb was the first to disembark from the flight. He was smiling. A number of staff from the president’s office went to receive him. When he stepped on to the tarmac, he shook hands with the protocol staff, after which Rasheed directed him to an airport bus. Adeeb complied without any questions. Police officers escorted him to the vehicle.
In the bus, a police officer read out the arrest warrant. MNDF officers and SPG officers were on board the vehicle too. The bus drove off to a jetty infront of the Hulhulé Island Hotel. He was taken to Dhoonidhoo on a small speedboat.
2:00pm: Adeeb’s predecessor, former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, in a tweet suggested Adeeb was behind his impeachment in July, in order to assume the presidency. “The individual who wanted the presidency is clear today, and my innocence has been proved,” he said in a tweet.
Raeesuljumhooriyya ge maqaam beynunvee kaakukan miadhu haamave alhugandu ge kushey neiy kan miadhu saabithu vejje — Mohamed Jameel Ahmed (@MJameelAhmed) October 24, 2015
“Adeeb played a lead role in mistreating me, without any reason, and in doing so, he has mistreated the public. No need to shed a single tear,” he said.
Eyves haqqeynethi alhugandah dhin aniyaa akee ADHEEB isve hure rayyithunna dhin aniyaa ey. Miadhu enme karuna thikkeyves faibaane kamey neiy — Mohamed Jameel Ahmed (@MJameelAhmed) October 24, 2015
1:45pm: Ahmed Mahloof, a former ruling party MP, has tweeted photos of Adeeb disembarking from the Singapore Airlines flight.
1:15pm: A court has extended the remand detention of Abdulla Ziyath, the head of state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Coroporation (MMPRC), for 15 days. Ziyath, a close associate of Adeeb, was arrested last night.
1:08pm: Four arrested today, Nawaz says, but says details are not available. He added that police expect unrest and have deployed security forces to Malé’s streets as a precautionary measure. Police press ends.
1:05pm: Nawaz declines to reveal evidence linking Adeeb to the boat blast. “Its too early to reveal details. We will share details with the media as required.”
1:00pm: Police press conference underway. Sub inspector Abdulla Nawaz confirms Adeeb’s arrest, and urges the public to cooperate with the security forces as the investigation into the boat blast proceeds.
12:40pm: The police have called a press conference at 12:45pm.
12:30pm: Adeeb’s supporters, Moosa Anwar and Ali Shahid ‘Steps Ayya’ have also been arrested near Seagull café. Anwar was on the same flight as Adeeb. Shahid had been fired from the youth ministry last week.
12:20pm: Adeeb has been taken to Dhoonidhoo Island Detention Center, Home Minister Umar Naseer said in a tweet.
VP Adheeb under arrest and held in Dhoonidhoo Detention. — Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) October 24, 2015
Charges: High Treason — Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) October 24, 2015
The government says the explosion was caused by a bomb targeting Yameen.
The city’s center has been closed off, and coastguard vessels are patrolling the channel between Malé and the airport island Hulhulé. Police and army officers in riot gear are patrolling the city.
Adeeb’s flight from Singapore landed at 11:45am today.
His supporters are gathered at the Seagull café in Malé.
Correction: This article previously carried a tweet from a parody account of former Defence Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel. It has been removed.